1. Book of Life praising hugs sums up very nicely what I enjoy about true following in dance — the opportunity to, for a few minutes, let someone else take care of everything.

    Leading and following are things people can choose to do in the moment, not roles to be forced into, integrate into personal identity, or assume because of gender. Leading is to communicate “I have this idea about a thing to do”. Following is to communicate “I understand this idea. I accept or reject it.”.

    Dancing with one person very clearly leading and the other very clearly following can be just as valuable an experience as a completely balanced dance with both(+) people leading and following each other. Each option is valid because the other exists. Awareness that the other option exists means that the people involved have chosen to act as they do.

    That both people know that they could choose freely to lead or follow allows for the most authentic interactions between dancers.

    I have had wonderful experiences completely following, completely leading, swapping with clear boundaries or dancing blurred, balanced and boundary-free. The common element is that what everyone involved wanted from the experience was communicated, and a consensus reached, whether verbally or not.

    The predominating assumption in traditional dance is still that men lead and women follow (or even that men and women dance together), and as such consensus to dance differently must usually be reached verbally (try it! It’s incredible). With people who share my philosophy it’s sometimes possible to reach consensus without words, and hopefully that will become easier the more dance is danced like this.

  2. I only agree with about half of what I’ve read so far on thebookoflife.org, but it’s some of the most interesting, detailed, honest writing I’ve come across in a long time. Concise, philosophical analysis which glories in small everyday things. Maybe a good world-viewing lens to add to the collection.

  3. Die Tanzsammlung Dahlhoff is now available to download in PDF format, one file per book, from the internet archive:

    Tanzsammlung Dahlhoff

    If you want full-resolution, archive quality TIFF files then the best place to get them from is still the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin site, but if you just want access to complete, usable, small-ish filesize PDFs then this is, as far as I know, the easiest place to find them. Viel Spaß damit!

  4. Just finished reading Critical Race Theory: An Introduction and Towards a European Critical Race Theory as the former is very US-centric and not so accessible to someone not immersed in/familiar with that history.

    Both are highly recommended reading, the former especially (it contains an excellent explanation, with examples, of what intersectionality is).

  5. After four months I completed the Duolingo German tree!

    I have thoroughly enjoyed using Duolingo and would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a language it supports. Having said that, there are many things it will not teach, for which I recommend and am using these additional resources:

    • The Memrise Beginners German (A1) course — the vocab complements the Duolingo course, is more strict about umlauts, and has proper native speaker audio
    • The Your Daily German Online Course is a collection of articles which explain a lot of interesting grammar points you will have absorbed from the Duolingo course. They also do a “word/prefix of the day” blog series which is extremely helpful. Don’t be put off by the weird, long-winded writing style, it’s a lot of fun and contains a lot of excellent explanations.
    • Deutsch, Warum Nicht? from Deutsche Welle, is an old radio course which I’ve been using to improve hearing comprehension. As well as being a good course, it has nice classical music breaks and endlessly amusing details. Anyone who enjoys Look Around You will love Deutsch, Warum Nicht.

    Online Deutsche Welle CEFR placement tests put me at A2 right now. Good thing too, as I’m headed for Germany later this month…

  6. Drehleierwiki has a very comprehensive list of string suggestions, and is excellent reference if you’re not sure where to get strings, what to get, or simply want to try something new.

    I’m currently using a Thomastik Infeld Dominant Viola a1 medium, (synth core, aluminium wound) as my g, some unbranded roundwound violin G (turns out roundwound doesn’t sit nicely with my gurdy) and a Violin D for the D. Planning on replacing the D with another low G set up for harmony playing, and maybe trying some gut strings for my trompettes after I’ve made new chiens.

  7. that “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” was appropriated by Pete Seeger (and then further sanitized by George Weiss) from a song written by Solomon Linda, who died in poverty. His family only received royalties for the song’s widespread Disney use after a lawsuit in 2006 — 44 years later.

    There’s an archive of the in-depth three part write-up of the whole thing from Rolling Stone by Rian Malan here.